Says Lithium Is Safe, But Switches to Ni-Cad for A350
Airbus Industrie said Friday that it’s sure lithium ion batteries are safe, but that it’s switching to nickel cadmium for its new A350 XWB widebody jet – Europe’s answer to the super-efficient, and now grounded, Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The U.S.-made 787 was grounded following separate battery incidents, including a fire on the ground in Boston. Boeing said this month that it was pleased with the progress of a U.S. National Transportation Safety Board investigation, “including that the NTSB has identified the origin of the event as having been within the battery” – and not the fault of aircraft electrical systems.
Boeing’s lithium ion batteries were supplied by GS Yuasa.
‘Robust and Safe… However’
Airbus said Friday that it is confident that the lithium ion main battery architecture it has been developing with Saft and qualifying for the A350 “is robust and safe.” It said that A350 XWB flight tests with lithium will continue.
“However,” Airbus said, “to date, the root causes of the two recent industry Li-ion main batteries incidents remain unexplained to the best of our knowledge.
“In this context, and with a view to ensuring the highest level of program certainty, Airbus has decided to activate its ‘Plan B’ and therefore to revert back to the proven and mastered nickel cadmium main batteries for its A350 XWB program at Entry into Service (EIS).
“Airbus considers this to be the most appropriate way forward in the interest of program execution and A350 XWB reliability.” The Toulouse, France-based manufacturer also said that it has launched additional maturity studies on lithium ion batteries.
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Source: Airbus Industry release with Fleets & Fuels follow-up